Random: Ghosts

Night before last, stayed up very late, reading Sebastian Barry’s A Long, Long Way.  You wouldn’t think a Filipina could get into the head of an Irishman, but she has.  And not just any Irishman.  This lad’s been standing up in a trench in Flanders Field (or somewhere thereabouts), up to his shoulders in water, for fifteen straight days.  He hasn’t had anything to eat, and there are no troops coming from behind to relieve him.  “There was a terrible drop in numbers in the battalions, everyone remarked on it.  Half strength as they were seemed almost a good thing by comparison.” (p. 264).

And what is on his mind?  Ghosts.

The man’s unit was to have been relieved by “a battalion of the Gloucesters.”  But

The Gloucesters never did turn up.  Maybe the great Leviathans of that mud world swallowed them up.  There was talk of new creatures fashioning themselves from this chaos, horrible, fanged whale-like monsters that could eat a soldier in two ticks.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Saturday, Downtown RWC: Summer of 2009, How Doth It Fare?

Naturally, hubby and self were there to see a movie —  in our new favorite hang-out, the Century 20!  (Things would be just peachy-keen if Beard Papa were still around.  Now, self has to content herself with buttered popcorn or nachos from the movie concession stand)

“The Brothers Bloom” is an OK movie.  Rachel Weisz as usual acts her heart out.  Mark Ruffalo is supremely charming. (Sometimes hubby gets him confused with Vincent D’Onofrio.  But self never does because Mark Ruffalo is cute!)

Adrien Brody has suuuuch a big nose!  Self means:  it is huge!  She wonders how he negotiates his kissing scenes.  When she remarked on this to hubby, after the movie, he said, “Well, he can’t very well get a nose job now —  since every one knows already what it looks like.”

Yes, but how come self never noticed his nose before?  Like in the “King Kong” movie, for instance?  She never noticed his nose then.  But all of a sudden, here she can’t stop looking at it!

She vaguely remembers reading somewhere that Adrian Brody was once briefly considered for the role of Young Spock in “Star Trek.”  Self tries to imagine him with the pointy ears and the shaved eyebrows.  No, no.  She is sure he wouldn’t have been as compelling as ZQ.

The movie reminded her of something from the sixties.  Trying to be light-hearted, in the vein of such pop movies as “The Yellow Submarine.”  It actually features a heroine who skips.  Self doesn’t think she’s seen the skipping-heroine thing since “Petulia.”  Nowadays, leading women, even when they’re supposed to be playing “young,” do not skip.

The movie took place in such fascinating locales as New Jersey, Montenegro, Prague, and St. Petersburg.  We are asked to believe that the brothers are con men extraordinaire, doing it all for the fun of the con rather than from any real attachment to money.  It was precious.  It was cute.  It reminded self of a Wes Anderson movie.  Let’s just call it:  Wes Anderson-lite.  Adrien Brody should not have been in this movie, as his nose was just too distracting.  There was an amusing Japanese woman whose main function seemed to be to lend the proceedings an air of total wackiness.  She looked greeeeat.  In the movie she was described as an “artist of nitro” —  which we know is true because it did show her practicing by blowing up Barbie figures.

Self thinks that, since she has now seen a good share of currently showing summer movies (with the exception of “Up,” which hubby declares we shall see in 3-D on the morrow, for which happy happy joy joy), she will do a tally sheet of the good, bad, and awful, like so:

  • “Star Trek”:  Hot.  The defining movie of Summer 2009.
  • “Angels & Demons”:  Sooo Not Hot (If only one could transport Ewan McGregor’s sexy priest to another movie)  —   though perhaps self should see a few more summer movies before declaring this the worst movie of 2009.
  • “Terminator:  Salvation”:  Semi-hot, but only because of Sam Worthington and Moon Bloodgood.
  • “Brothers Bloom”:  Dorky.  And dorkiness is not hot.  Unless it refers to Michael Cera.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Announcing: 2009 Juked Fiction and Poetry Prizes

The 2009 Juked Fiction and Poetry Prizes are open for entries.

Final Judges:

Dan Chaon (Fiction) and Dora Malech (Poetry)

$500 First Prize for both entries.

Deadline:  Aug. 31, 2009

Fee is $10 per entry (No limit to the number of entries you may submit).

For more info, go here.

Self Feeling Optimistic. Is the End Nigh?

When self looks around her, she thinks she sees some very hopeful signs, dear blog readers.  Signs that the end might be nigh.  Self means, the end of the recession.

Of course, hubby’s still down-in-the-dumps about the start-up he works for, but suddenly, the houses in self’s neighborhood that have been up for sale seem actually to be selling.

And, no question, this summer is waaaay better for the movie industry than last (Even less well-reviewed movies like “Angels and Demons” and “Terminator: Salvation,” are making money).

Not only that, self read an article in the Wall Street Journal that said that Open Table, a web service that lets restaurant patrons reserve tables at their favorite restaurants, is so incredibly hot right now.  And you wouldn’t think people would be doing a lot of eating out at fancy restaurants —  not unless they were feeling pretty flush.

And the lines at the Mountain View Costco suddenly got super-long, in the past two weeks (so, obviously, people are still shopping for giant bags of dry cereal, nachos, popcorn, and what-have-you.)

And Wells Fargo declared a profit.

But there are still some sectors of American industry that are languishing, and these are:

  • print newspapers
  • Barnes & Noble (self wonders if Amazon.com is doing as poorly —  probably not)
  • the U.S. Post Office (bleeding money rather precipituously)

Let’s see, what else?  Self is still mourning the cancellation of “Eleventh Hour” and “Without a Trace” (She’s been an Anthony LaPaglia fan since the movie “Lantana”), but it looks like Simon Baker, aka “The Mentalist,” will be around for a couple of seasons.  And even though self’s neighborhood Long’s morphed into CVS, none of her favorite neighborhood restaurants closed (except, that is, for Beard Papa!).

Yes North Korea is still crazy, but they have so far not managed to strike fear and panic into the heart of the average American citizen.

And Iran let the young American reporter go.

And most of the literary journals self likes to read (like Calyx, and juked, and Sou’wester) are still around.

Perhaps we’ll be able to pull through, after all?

And, the weekend is almost here!  One of the movies hubby wants to see, “Up,” is opening, and the incomparable Redwood City Pet Parade is this Saturday, in Courthouse Square.  Self thinks it is so much fun to see a movie and then walk around downtown RWC when there is a fair.  This one has the “Pet and Owner Look-Alike Contest.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Center for Babaylan Studies, Sonoma State

Recently, the Center for Babaylan Studies at Sonoma State put out a Call for Papers for a conference to be held April 17 & 18,  2010 at Sonoma State.  Below, an excerpt from the Mission Statement:

We are passionate about the significance of the babaylan in our communities and world today and would like you to join us in bringing about this very unique and special gathering through your efforts and presence.

We believe in the power of the Indigenous Soul and the Indigenous World View, as embodied by primary/ land-based babaylans in the Philippines and contemporary babaylan/ culture-bearers in the Philippines and the diaspora, to provide a narrative that restores a sense of wholeness, beauty and integrity to our pagka-Pilipino.

Here is the Call to Presenters:

If you are a scholar/educator, artist (visual, literary, performance), culture-bearer/ advocate/ activist and if you deem that your work is Babaylan-inspired and Babaylan-informed, please submit a 250-500 word abstract describing the content of your paper and a paragraph about how you think it fits into the conference themes mentioned above.

For panel presentations, please submit the names of the members of the panel, the title and 250-500 word abstract for each presentation, and the name of the panel moderator.

Deadline for conference abstracts is Nov. 15, 2009.

More detailed information can be found on the Center for Babaylan Studies website.

George Takei, So Married!

The original Sulu is on Larry King Live right now!

And he looks goood!

He’s been with the same man for 22 years, and got married September 2008. Says it was the happiest day of his life!

He looks sooo happy.

His partner looks like such a nice guy. He talks about how he made George a pot of hot tea on the day they got married (Sweet, sweet. Self wishes hubby would make her breakfast in bed, prepare pots of hot tea etc etc. Perhaps she will make him read this post after he drags himself home from the office. Yeah, better still, she’ll do it right when he’s in the middle of watching an NBA play-off game!)

George says he owes so much to his partner, Brad. Brad helped him care for his mother, who had Alzheimer’s.

I looove his voice. It is surprisingly deep. John Cho’s voice has nothing on Takei’s!

* * *

The other thing self saw on TV today (when she should have been writing — yeah, she knows) was a video of a Filipino kid being stomped by some high school classmates. She didn’t know the kid was Filipino until afterwards, when they interviewed his younger sister. In the video, he’s completely motionless in a school hallway, and about three kids are stomping on him. He doesn’t move. Is he playing dead? Is he unconscious?

The minute the hooligans leave, some kids rush up to aid the motionless student. Judging by the speed with which they appear on-screen, they must have been in the same hallway, just out of sight, probably too afraid to approach.

The incident happened in December 2007. The sister kept quiet, the kid kept quiet, the parents kept quiet. They only came forward when the video surfaced on YouTube this week. The reporter said that the parents are sending the kid back to the Philippines to study “in private school.” (What school would that be? Ateneo? LaSalle? San Beda?)

Hello? Is this a solution?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Thanks to Mnemosyne, Self is Now a Kreative Blogger

Waaaah!  Self will do the Sally Field/ Halle Berry big crying scene!

She’s just Read the rest of this entry »

Proposition 8 Quote of the Day!

“My two moms can beat up your ten wives.”

– Sign held aloft by young man at this afternoon’s protest against the California State Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage

Let the fun begin.

Big News Day

  • The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 (Self has one eye on the TV as she types this and already crowds seem to be massing in San Francisco —  Opponents of Prop 8 have apparently been gathered there, in a state of high anticipation, since early this morning).
  • “Angels & Demons” made $27.7 million over the weekend, which demonstrates once again why no one should read self’s movie reviews, HA HA HA HA HA
  • Today is the day that changed forever the way self feels about getting back her SASEs. Whenever she gets one of them back she thinks, Oh, another rejection.  There was one in today’s mail, and self let it sit and sit and sit. When she finally did rip it open, she made sure she was standing right next to the trash can.  Her disbelieving eyes saw only two words: “Contract forthcoming.”  Editor surely takes the prize in most laconic communication of the year!  Self submitted one of her “trans-genre” pieces.  She’s on a roll!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

2009 Foothill Writers Conference (Partial Schedule of Events)

Self has been giving workshops at the Foothill Writers Conference for years now, and she’ll say it again: this is one of the best writers conferences in the Bay Area, and it is still by far the most affordable. Where else can you get four days of workshops and readings, for less than $100? (For California residents, conference registration is a measly $53!) Mood is low-key and fun. You’ll find registration information, here.

Self’s workshops are Thursday, July 9, and Sunday, July 12. As it happens, Barbara Jane Reyes, Greg Sarris, and Justin Chin are also doing workshops on Thursday. So we’ll all be able to drop in on each other between workshops and/or readings, hopefully.

So, here’s the line-up for Thursday, 9 July, and Sunday, 12 July:

Thursday Faculty Readings
12 – 1:30 p.m. Alan Cheuse * Greg Sarris * Kim Wolterbeek

Thursday Workshops
1:45 – 3:15 p.m.

Justin Chin: “Monster Mush: The Uses and Abuses of Sentimentality in Writing”

Barbara Jane Reyes: “Poetry, Politics and Prayer: The Litany and the Line”

Greg Sarris: “Fiction: Writing From Home”

Marianne Villanueva: Writing Exercises in Flash Fiction

3:15 – 5 p.m. Thursday Workshops

Justin Chin: Memoir/ Personal Story Manuscript Workshop

Barbara Jane Reyes: Poetry Manuscript Workshop

Greg Sarris: “Fiction: Writing From Home”

Marianne Villanueva: Fiction Manuscript Workshop

5:30 – 7 p.m. Thursday Faculty Readings
Justin Chin * Scott Inguito * Barbara Jane Reyes

Sunday, July 12 Faculty Readings
12 – 1:30 p.m. Tony Tulathimutte * Daniel Haysbert * Marianne Villanueva

Sunday Workshops
1:45 – 3:15 p.m.

Barbara Jane Reyes: “Poetry, Politics and Prayer: The Litany and the Line”

Marianne Villanueva: “What Narrative Poetry Can Teach Prose Writers”

3:15 – 5 p.m. Sunday Workshops

Barbara Jane Reyes: Poetry Manuscript Workshop

Marianne Villanueva: “Strategies for Revising the Voice-Driven Story”

5:30 – 7 p.m. Sunday Readings:
Student Readings and Musical Performance by Avotcja Jiltonilro and Modupue

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